Food Stuff 

Maifest at the Dakota Inn, hog butchering and more

Go fish! — Dearborn's Big Fish marks two decades in the seafood business with a special 20th Anniversary three-course menu that will be available all summer long. For starters, get either a Big Fish chowder, a chilled gazpacho or a Cape Codder. Eight entrée choices include a beer-battered fish and chips, shrimp jambalaya, Maryland crab cakes and more. For dessert? Crème brûlée. It's all yours for $20. Expect live lounge entertainment Fridays and Saturdays, and jazz on the patio on Wednesdays. Drop in at 700 Town Center Dr., Dearborn; 313-336-6350; muer.com.

Chicken-hatted fun — The Kurz family reminds us that Detroit's historic beer garden, the Dakota Inn, is hosting Maifest this Saturday, May 14. If you don't already have a chicken hat, buy one at the door, get a pint of Reissdorf Kolsch or order a Killer Bee (a mix of Jager and Baron Jager), and enjoy the fun. Dick Wagner & Die Rhinelanders will perform from 8 p.m. to midnight, and at 9:30 the Baron-Jagerettes will drop in to entertain the crowd. At 17324 John R St., Detroit; 313-867-9722; reservations recommended; admission is $3; opens at 6 p.m.; see dakota-inn.com for more info.

Photo finish? — Did you know there is legislation being introduced in Iowa, Minnesota, and Florida that would criminalize the act of taking photos of farms? In opposition, Slow Food USA has launched a "Farmarazzi" campaign, in which thousands of volunteers are being called on to photograph farms in defiance of the so-called "Ag Gag" bills. Slow Food USA President Josh Viertel says, "A well-managed farm has nothing to hide. We have a right to see the story behind the food we eat and the food we feed to our children. We need more transparency, not less." To support the campaign, upload your farm photos to Slow Food USA's Facebook wall, or sign the petition at http://bit.ly/mOOlxR.

Whole hog — The Milford Farmers' Market is now open 3-8 p.m. every Thursday, but this year downtown Milford businesses will offer cooking demos. For instance, Cinco Lagos chef Brian Polcyn will conduct a hog butchering class from 4:30 to 6 p.m., May 26, on East Liberty Street between South Main and Union streets.

Blizzards in May? — The good people at Dairy Queen want us to remind you they're serving up a new, decadent German Chocolate Brownie as the featured Blizzard for May. It's a rich mix of chewy brownie pieces, pecan bits, caramel and coconut blended with creamy vanilla soft serve. Chill out in style.

Top of the pops — The website Serious Eats (seriouseats.com) recently had a taste test of a dozen brands of orange soda and pronounced Detroit's Faygo orange soda the winner. The original orange, sweetened with 100 percent cane sugar, edged out all other competitors, judges said, "by nailing the balance between the tart and the sweet."

Local flavor — Locally based Hard Luck Candy Vodka has introduced two new flavors: "Orange Dream" and "Lemon Drop." As a flavor, Lemon Drop hardly needs introduction, but the Orange Dream is a blend of orange and vanilla. Curious? See hardluckvodka.com for the "Hard Luck Candy Locator."

Food/Thought — When Food Network celebrity Paula Deen is your mom, you've been well-fed, and if you paid attention in the kitchen, you learned how to cook. Jamie and Bobby Deen did both, eventually opening the Lady and Sons restaurant in Savannah. The Deen Bros. Get Fired Up: Grilling, Tailgating, Picnicking and More (Ballantine Books, $25) shares uncomplicated recipes for fast grilling and simple sides and salads. Make the marinade ahead for the fajitas with smoky avocado and flank steak. The rest is a breeze — as are most of the recipes here. "Washed ashore" cocktails, merely coconut water and dark rum, will require a designated driver.

Bottoms UpAs the summer drinking season nears, grab a box of Magic Hat Brewing Company's Summer Scene. It's the Vermont brewery's warm weather variety 12-pak that includes the poundable Single Chair Ale, a crisp, golden pilsner with aromas of flowers and breakfast cereal. Also inside is the newest entry for their "I.P.A. on Tour" program. Blind Faith is a balanced I.P.A. — a bit stronger than the Single Chair, with a pungent nose of citrus, and a mild sour and earthy vibe. It's an I.P.A. that's not overly hoppy and will still drink easy.

The WorksWhimsical? Yes. Functional? You bet. This watermelon knife, with its 11-inch serrated blade, will tackle even the largest of melons. The red nonstick coating and small seed-shaped holes on the blade let you effortlessly cut through the tough rind and the flesh. Although it's disguised as a single purpose knife, it's not limited to slicing watermelon. Serrated blades are perfect for cutting tomatoes without crushing them. Don't be fooled by the color of the blade. It's sharp. The protective sheath allows you to transport it to a picnic safely.

Know of any upcoming food events? Let us know! Call 313-202-8043 or e-mail mjackman@metrotimes.com.

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